Parenting

38 Week Pregnant: What to Do & What not to?

It is week 38 of your awesome but tiring journey of being pregnant. And you feel almost drained out but worry not as there are only two more weeks to go. At 38 weeks pregnant, your body is almost fully developed but still, some parts of your body keep swelling up, like your feet and ankles, and your breasts tend to get more sore. There are all symptoms that you are almost at the finish line. 

38 Weeks Pregnant

This article will discuss some major points to consider at 38 weeks of pregnancy. How will your body react to certain changes, how much your baby has developed, what precautions to take, and what to do until the delivery day comes? All these questions will be answered for your knowledge and help you manage in this crucial moment of your life.

Your Baby’s Development

Your Baby Development

In the 38th week of pregnancy, your baby is roughly 35 cm in size from head to bottom, also known as the crown-rump length, and around 49 cm from head to heel (crown-heel length) and weighs approximately 7 pounds (3.5 kg). In relative terms, the baby would be roughly the size of a leek at 38 weeks pregnant.

At the 38th week of being pregnant, the baby is still growing and covering the womb and slowly moving towards the lower pelvis, reducing the pain and pressure in the upper abdominal area. But this certainly does not mean the movements will slow down. On the contrary, the activities might increase as the baby is gearing up for the extensive introduction.

Your baby is now shedding the lanugo, a delicate covering of soft and fine hair covering their body in utero. Most hair will already be cleared by birth, but some may remain on the arms or shoulders. But your baby is still covered in a white, creamy substance called vernix that protects the skin from amniotic fluid.

The baby will also be swallowing amniotic fluid, which will eventually end up in the intestines. The bowel will be full of meconium, a dark green-like substance, which will be discarded in the first few bowel movements after the birth.

The lungs are still maturing and getting ready for action, as well as the brain. The most significant development at 38 weeks will be the development of eye color. At this stage, your baby will have almost fully developed eye colors, which are unlikely to change after birth.

Your Symptoms

As you are nearing the end of a fantastic roller coaster ride, your body will undergo significant changes at 38 weeks pregnant. Listed below are the most common changes being experienced during this time:

Braxton-Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks Contractions 38 weeks

At 38 weeks of pregnancy, you will experience frequent mild and painless contractions around your belly known as Braxton-Hicks Contractions. Your body is preparing you for the showdown by contracting your uterine muscles. These contractions usually last 15-20 seconds.

Frequent Urination

Frequent Urination 38 weeks

As the birth time comes nearer, the baby and the uterus start putting more pressure on the bladder, resulting in frequent visits to the bathroom. In such cases, it is advised to skip caffeinated drinks but maintain drinking water to stay well hydrated.

Swollen Ankle and Feet (Edema)

Swollen Ankle and Feet 38 weeks

At the end of pregnancy, the body produces and retains more fluid than usual. This fluid retention causes the feet, ankles, and sometimes hands to swallow up. This is normal. To combat these problems, drink more water to flush out excessive fluids and rest with your feet up. Wearing loose clothes also helps in dealing with this problem.

However, if there is a sudden increase in swelling on the face and hands or a sudden gain in weight, you must get in touch with the doctor immediately as this might be a symptom of a severe condition known as pre-eclampsia.

Overflowing Breasts

Overflowing Breasts 38 weeks

During this time, the breasts become bigger and produce very high nutrient milk called colostrum, which sometimes leaks through the nipples and forms a yellowish patch on the bra. To counter this problem, it is advised to buy absorbent pads.

Nausea

Nausea 38 weeks

You finally got over persistent nausea feeling in the first trimester; during this time, sickness creeps back in without any notice. But don’t worry, as this is a symptom of labor starting soon.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of Sleep 38 weeks

As the delivery time is coming closer, the mind is also racing a lot, causing one to be restless. Just grab a book or a magazine or listen to some low-key soothing music to calm your mind down. This will help you relax and get some much-needed sleep.

Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal Discharge 38 weeks

During the 38th week, most women experience more vaginal discharge than usual. There is also a chance of experiencing something called the mucus plug. A mucus plug is a yellowish/brownish lump of mucus nestled against the cervix throughout the pregnancy. As the labor time gets near and the dilation begins, this mucus plug is discharged through the vagina.

Things to Consider

So you have almost reached the end line and are nearly there. Here is a list of things to consider to help you cross the line:

Meal Preparation

Meal Preparation 38 weeks

As there is little time left for your bundle of joy to arrive, you will not have enough time to cook or prepare meals after the delivery. A suggestion is to fill your freezer with pre-prepared or ready-to-cook meals to save time and energy once the baby arrives.

Exercise

Exercise 38 weeks

I know exercising at this stage sounds too much work, but trust me, doing some basic squats will help you induce labor and ease the delivery process. It will help if you stay active, which will come in handy when it matters the most.

Food

Food 38 Weeks

It is now time to start eating food that will help you get closer to the due date. Even though it is not a clinically proven method, many people give positive feedback. Food items such as eggplants, balsamic vinegar, and especially hot & spicy food help in inducing labor.

Visiting Doctor

Visit Doctor 38 weeks

You will have your routinely prenatal visit to the doctor this week, and the doctor will conduct the typical check-up like weight check, blood pressure, urine test, swelling check, blood sugar check, listening to the baby’s heartbeat, and checking the position of the baby, etc. A 38th-week checkup can also include an ultrasound to check the baby’s status in the womb.

Lingering questions relating to epidural injections, delivery procedure, normal or C-Section delivery, etc., should be asked. The doctor will try to answer these questions and satisfy your concerns to the fullest. In the meantime, you can also communicate your concerns to the healthcare provider.

Your Checklist

Here I will mention some things you might consider doing from being 38 weeks pregnant to delivery. Please note that this list is not conclusive, and you can add or delete anything that does not concern you.

Keep a close eye on late pregnancy complications

Occasionally some complications occur late in the pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia. Pre-Eclampsia is a serious blood pressure condition that affects both the mother and the baby. You should be on the lookout for other complications that may arise late in the pregnancy timeline, as they can tend to harm the baby unexpectedly.

Re-check the Hospital Bag

Re-Check Hospital Bag

Now would be a good time to double-check the bag you packed for the hospital. Check if you have packed the essentials for the baby, an extra set of clothing for yourself, and some snacks if it takes longer than expected.

Set up the Nursery and Wardrobe for the Baby

Nursery and Wardrobe for the Baby

This is the perfect time to set up a separate room for your baby. All you need is a crib, a changing table, and a baby monitor for now. Also, it would help if you stocked up on diapers and wipes, as there is no such thing as too many diapers or wipes. You should also set up a wardrobe for your baby as the baby will need a constant change of clothes due to excessive pooping or throwing up. Extra pair of clothes always come in handy.

Tips for your Child

Tips for your child 38 weeks

Your healthcare provider will guide you in caring for yourself and the baby at this crucial stage of being 38 weeks pregnant. Moreover, you can also do some of these general things for the betterment of your child:

  • Keep a lookout for the baby’s movement
  • Stay Hydrated
  • Don’t overwork yourself
  • Don’t take too much stress
  • Sleep on your side
  • Eat healthy food
  • Stay active by doing brisk walk or yoga
  • Take multivitamins

Self-Care Tips

Self Care Tips 38 weeks

Post-Delivery, you will not get much time to spend on yourself as taking care of a baby is more than a full-time job. So, now, at 38 weeks pregnant, would be a perfect time to tick all those beauty regimes you have been thinking of getting done. 

You should spend more time with your partner and talk to each other more often. Communication and intimacy are the keys to a healthy relationship; the baby will demand much of your attention after the delivery. So, this is the perfect time to spend with your better half. Also, catch up on those TV shows, binge-watch the episodes, and finish up that novel, as you will not get much time for yourself after the baby is born.

Conclusion

You are 38 weeks pregnant. Well done! You will get the best gift of your life for two more weeks. In this article, we have explained the baby’s development till now and what to expect in the coming days. You should be on the lookout for last-moment complexities and be extra careful when your water breaks because that is the moment of truth. Take extra care of yourself and remember that the hard work has already been done, and it is time to get rewarded.

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Renae Reinardy
About author

Hi, my name is Renae. I started Blogging with my friends LaTarsha Holdenton and keren Smooth under the company name “K2babycare” to share my knowledge of parenting with other Moms, to become a better Mom tomorrow than today.
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